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Midway Between Slavery And Citizenship: Black Freedmen In White Protestant Sermons In The Immediate Post-Civil War Period

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Chapter Summary

Christianity played a commanding role in American life during the mid-19th century, as seen in church attendance, denominational affiliation, the ubiquity of religious publications, and the common feature of religious leaders speaking in public venues. This chapter focuses on the nature of the role Christianity played during the Civil War period. The war did not diminish the role of religion in general and Protestant faith in particular during the war; it may, in fact, have increased it. The chapter then focuses on significant rhetorical influence of the ministers. We must note the breadth of the rhetorical reach they enjoyed and the manner in which they chose to exercise it. The chapter also shows this reach was tested in the postwar period as the country began the process of reconstruction, a process that was contested at nearly every turn.

Keywords: civil war period; slavery; white protestant Sermons



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